Ethnopharmacological relevance: The root of Polygala tenuifolia Willd is a well-known traditional Oriental medicine and has been prescribed for treatment of dysfunction in memorial systems and various brain inflammatory diseases. The present study was designed to validate the anti-inflammatory effects of the water extract of Polygala tenuifolia root (WEPT).
Materials and methods: The anti-inflammatory properties of WEPT were studied using lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated murine BV2 microglia model. As inflammatory parameters, the production of nitric oxide (NO), inducible NO synthase (iNOS), cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, prostaglandin E(2) (PGE(2)), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and interleukin (IL)-1β were evaluated. We also examined the extract's effect on the activity of nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-κB), and toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and myeloid differentiation factor 88 (Myd-88) expression.
Results: WEPT suppressed LPS-induced production of NO, PGE(2), and expression of iNOS and COX-2 in a dose-dependent manner, without causing cytotoxicity. It also significantly reduced generation of proinflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β and TNF-α. In addition, WEPT suppressed NF-κB translocation by blockade of IkappaB-α (IκB-α) degradation and inhibited TLR4 and Myd-88 expression in LPS-stimulated BV2 cells.
Conclusions: These results indicate that the inhibitory effects of WEPT on LPS-stimulated inflammatory mediator production in BV2 microglia are associated with suppression of the NF-κB and toll-like receptor signaling pathways. Therefore, Polygala tenuifolia extracts may be useful in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases by inhibition of inflammatory mediator production in activated microglia.
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